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The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Most Americans believe they possess an immaterial soul that will survive the death of the body. In sharp contrast, the current scientific consensus rejects the traditional soul, although this conclusion is rarely discussed publicly. In this book, a cognitive scientist breaks the taboo and explains why modern science leads to this controversial conclusion. In doing so, the ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Prometheus Books
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Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain From Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs by Julien Musolino

"The Soul Fallacy" is a fantastic look at the immortal soul as a scientific hypothesis. Cognitive scientist and professor at Rutgers University, Julien Musolino takes the reader on an enlightening journey of the soul. With mastery of the subject and ease of explanation Musolino dissects this fascinating topic from multiple angles and reaches a sound and satisfactory conclusion. This excellent 287-p
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Soul Fallacy was an excellent and surprisingly comprehensive book about the history of belief in and current scientific examination of the supposed spiritual essence of humans, the soul. The author, Julian Musolino, was a guest on The Thinking Atheist podcast in August 2017 and I found him to be well spoken and subject matter relatable. Musolino is "a Franco-American cognitive scientist who directs the Rutgers Psycholinquistics Laboratory and also holds a dual appointment in the Department o ...more
Bruce Mackenzie
I really wanted to like this book. On the surface, I felt it closely resembled my own views on the subject of the soul. Sadly, I found the author, Julien Musolino, to be pompous and condescending. And repetitive. Not content with stating something once or twice, the author appears to have settled on 5 as a good number.There is far too much of the 'I am a scientist, so what I say is true', and not nearly enough of the science itself or the philosophical underpinnings.

The writing does get somewha
Frank Jude
Julien Musolino is a Franco-American cognitive scientist who directs the Pscyholinguistics Laboratory at Rutgers University, while holding a dual appointment in the Department of Psychology and the Center for Cognitive Science. He also writes clearly, and accessibly about a topic of great importance in this wonderful book that should be read by both those who have already jettisoned the notion of an immortal, incorporeal soul as well as by those who believe or on the fence about the whole issue. ...more
Justin Powell
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a phenomenal book that I hope many read. Musolino wrote a well researched, and well written book, but could have been far bigger in scope. I highly recommend reading the numerous works cited within this book such as those by; Steven Pinker, Pascal Boyer, Victor Stenger, Phil Zuckerman, Paul Bloom, Joshua Greene, Daniel Dennett, Pat and Paul Churchland, and many more. It is not within this book alone that a believer in a soul or immorality will be convinced, but only with further explorat ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Julien rams a giant nail into the coffin of the belief in an immaterial soul by skimming the evidence provided by neurobiology and psychology and then uses logic and rational thought to tie everything in together. There are many other actual treatises that have destroyed cartesian dualism (most notably existential philosophy) but this book is not merely philosophical but a real scientific refutation of one of the oldest held beliefs that man has. Time for a paradigm shift.
Anthony McKay
I did not like it

I read it to allow it to challenge my own beliefs. It did not sway me. The author is obviously intelligent and well versed in the subject matter. I would have found his arguments more compelling if he had avoided the numerous statements of conclusion that seemed to declare things "case closed" when in fact I still had reservations. I believe in a courtroom this style is known as leading the witness. There are also many references that sure read to me as argument from authority.
Karel Baloun
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Musolino's lucidly written book reminds readers how deeply soul belief is engrained in society, showing many examples which we maybe missed as fish in water. Many interesting famous quotations and psych experiments together craft a reasonable story of humans and AIs not needing souls to operate.

Debunking can't deeply satisfy, since it doesn't create new knowledge. We may be less misled, but we don't know anything new.

Assigning the burden of proof, or saying the gaps in knowledge don't prove some
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good, thorough and easy to read. What it is: a reasoned tour through history and neuroscience explaining why humans believed in a soul and how science proves that it does not. What it is not: an ad-hominum rant against religious people. Although, Mr Musolino is a little hard on Denish D'Sousa.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thoughtfully written and researched, this controversial book demonstrates why our persistent belief in the existence of souls is not only wrong but potentially damaging to society. Drawing extensively on the work of other authors doesn’t mean Musolino is afraid to put froth his own insights gained from a lifetime of careful observation and study. Musolino raises four main points starting with how proving or disproving the existence of souls is an objective endeavor and therefore subject to exami ...more
Abner Huertas
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting subject. The author delivers different point of views from religion, philosophy and science.

The point of all is for you, the reader, to make your own desition of believing in the soul, or accepting the fact that people might no have a soul.

The author never attacks people who believe in the soul, even declares that sometimes might be comfortaiting.

Read this book with an open mind, specially if you believe in the soul, and after make you own judgement.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
The premise of the book--the idea that souls do not exist--is one with which I fully agree.

The author makes good arguments in this book, but there really isn't a lot of new information (e.g. I would have been interested to see some new cases from neuroscience that shed light on this issue) here.

This is a good introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the arguments against the soul from philosophy and neuroscience.
Heather Pagano
Musolino was willing to get into the nitty gritty of the reasoning behind why it makes sense not to postulate the soul. He didn't back away from difficult explanations, and walked readers step by step through the reasoning process.
William Sharpe
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nice framework to build on for a rational approach to one of the most difficult aspects of religion & spirituality (for me at least). ...more
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“Pope John Paul II famously articulated the idea in a message delivered to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in October 1996, in which the Holy Father declared that the human body might originate from preexisting living matter, but the spiritual soul is a direct creation of God. Explaining the mind as a product of evolution, claimed the pope, was incompatible with the truth about man.” 1 likes
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. —Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing, 2012 One” 0 likes
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